The Programme Manager at Starcom Network has had his 2019 calypso Reading for Pleasure banned by his own radio station and the state-owned Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
In addition to that, Ronnie De Announcer Clarke has been yanked from the popular Fireworks programme, staged annually during the hectic Crop Over season.
Reading for Pleasure, which is shaping up to be one of Clarke’s biggest hits, has apparently offended the listening ears at the Starcom Network and CBC.
Declaring that he is aware his job may be impacted, Clarke said he is contemplating taking legal action against the two stations for damages to his reputation.
The crafty social commentary which plays on the work of noted American author Eric Jerome Dickey is no longer getting airplay and the decision is not sitting well with the radio personality.
Heaping disdain on the move, the Cave Shepherd All Stars calypsonian is crying foul saying that songs such as Popsicle’s Don’t Sell Cornwall, Mac Fingall’s Tonight You Eating Bacon, John King Sing Fuh Cree and Malik’s World Cup Cricket continue to be played on
“Starcom Network and Redifussion have a rich history of playing songs that stand alone but people may interpret them as something else and Reading For Pleasure is definitely in those parameters and less shocking than any of them,” Clarke told Barbados TODAY.
“It takes a certain degree of cultural apathy or ignorance and sexual immaturity to only hear genitialia when there is no reference to any genitialia other than the reference to a man’s surname, a well-established author who has come to Barbados from time to time and in Barbados is well known,” he continued.
Clarke disclosed that station manager of Starcom Network, David Ellis classified the song as “smacked of vulgarity” and one that “belonged in the tents”. Clarke said he was then informed that the song would be banned from the airwaves.
Having received word that the tune would be pulled, Clarke, the presenter of Fireworks on VOB 92.9 FM, went on air last week Tuesday, and explained to listeners that his song would no longer be played. He read the email correspondence between himself and station manager David Ellis. Because of his actions, he said, he was pulled from Fireworks for the rest of the Crop Over season and has received disciplinary action.
Clarke said: “My listeners and the audience are wondering what happened to this song, I am not supposed to bring some clarity to it?
“It is nonsense about being too passionate in the delivery of the surname, I have come up with something called “dickey phobia”. Dickey phobia is the irrational fear of a man’s surname and the symptoms include banning the calypso by the announcer.”
This evening Barbados TODAY contacted Station Manager Ellis for comment but he declined.
While speaking to Barbados TODAY, Clarke criticized CBC for its lack of transparency as they were unable to give him a reason for the ban and also charged that his employer Starcom Network was trying to cover it up. He was unapologetic about the stance he has taken and claimed that broadcasters are expected to inform and keep the public aware of things that are of interest to them, and Reading for Pleasure was a topic of discussion.
Efforts to reach CBC management for comment proved futile.
The seasoned broadcaster said he was contemplating taking legal action against CBC and Starcom for damages to his reputation.
“I know my job is at stake but I don’t care about that, I stand for what is right and facts and truth,” he stressed.
Clarke argued that his only demand was for the media/broadcast agencies to retract their decision on his music. The calypsonian told Barbados TODAY he hoped the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) would not follow suit as his arrangement and the construction of his song on judging night abided by the rules.
“I can hope and pray I make it into the finals. A lot of people are concerned that with this ridiculous decision by Starcom Network and this pathetic following by CBC that the NCF will feel moved to do the same but my judging night performance spoke for itself. If you have any issues according to the rules, you present them to me once I have been selected,” he asserted. [email protected]